Fourth Grade

The areas of focus for fourth grade include becoming informed citizens, being stewards of the environment, developing healthy friendships, and building problem solving skills in order to establish a strong and productive community. The social studies themes of Washington State and Westward Expansion are additional focal points throughout the year, from which other topics are integrated. Fourth graders build a repertoire of 21st Century skills including collaboration, critical thinking, communication and creativity. The fourth grade program is organized to include a consistent morning routine, core subjects and specialist classes. It includes daily activities that emphasize social and emotional skills.

Language Arts

Building on a solid foundation of reading and writing skills developed in earlier grades, fourth graders thrive in a language arts program that is designed to nourish literacy at all levels. Language arts concepts are integrated throughout the core disciplines in the fourth grade curriculum. Reading comprehension, literary response and analysis are the main areas of focus in fourth grade reading instruction. Students’ reading skills are assessed using the Benchmark Assessment System (BAS) early in the year and also through ongoing reading conferences. Students keep reading notebooks and participate in a differentiated and independent reading program. The fourth grade reading program incorporates monthly genre studies, Junior Great Books, whole-class novels, and book clubs with a strong focus on developing critical thinking skills. 
 
Fourth grade students are becoming independent writers, and are provided the instruction and skill development to make this a priority through the workshop model. Fourth grade students view themselves as creative, competent writers, eager to share their ideas with an audience. Writing occurs daily and is integrated throughout the curriculum, including writing journals, reader response activities, reading journals, grammar lessons, and Handwriting Without Tears cursive lessons. Fourth grade word study concentrates on Greek and Latin roots and enhancing vocabulary knowledge. Communication skills are emphasized through class discussions and presentations, cooperative group experiences, and personal interactions.
 
Curriculum Resources
  • Junior Great Books
  • Time for Kids
  • Six Trait Writing
  • Reading and Writing Workshops
  • Various trade books

Science

Fourth grade scientists learn how to write a scientific paper, recording the results of their observations and investigations. Students at this level work on experiments that are students driven that include planning, supply orders and budgets, time management, peer cooperation, and even collaborating with scientists from all over the world for real-world expert review. These experiments and investigations are then assembled in a digital science portfolio for the end of the year.

Specialists

Our lower school students are also supported with many special classes each week including: art, drama, physical education, music, science, Spanish, Library Learning Commons and technology. To find out more about specialists, visit the K-4 specialist page.

Math

Features that distinguish fourth grade math instruction are: real life problem solving, balanced instruction, multiple methods for basic skills practice, emphasis on communication, and the use of technology. Using enVision Math, and supplemental enrichment materials, math instruction is differentiated according to students’ needs and abilities. Math instruction includes practice problems from the textbook, Writing to Explain word problems, and hands-on activities that both build foundational math skills as well as ask students to use their math knowledge to extend and deepen concepts. Assessment is ongoing and informs the content and pacing of the math instruction. Groups are created depending upon skills students need to learn or practice, and groups may be flexible depending upon the unit, activity, or project.
 
Curriculum Resources
  • enVision Math
  • Exemplars
  • Math for Love

Social Studies

The social studies theme of Washington State provides students with an up-close study of their home state. Investigations into regions and geography, the First Nations People, Explorers, early settlement, and present day economy and government, allow students to learn first-hand about their home state.
 
Curriculum Resources
  • Washington My Home
  • Numerous Local Field Trips


Social & Emotional

In Lower School, social and emotional learning (SEL) instruction is taught formally by teachers and counselors twice weekly, however this learning about self and others takes place organically throughout the entire school day and in all environments as students and teachers interact with one another. Year by year, the program builds with SEL concepts relevant to the needs of our students. Lessons are intentionally designed for students to develop respect for themselves and others, gain emotional awareness and control, learn effective communication skills, and set and achieve their academic goals.
 
Formal SEL lessons take place through 40 minute meetings that bring students into a circle for a range of experiences including classroom instruction, group discussions, reflections, role-play, community building activities, problem solving, and a variety of mindfulness practices. These meetings provide time for students to learn and practice new skills, while simultaneously developing an understanding of what it means to be both an individual and a group member. These skills are necessary for school success, and they are also necessary for life success.
 
In first through fourth grades students continue to address topics that are age appropriate and applicable to their needs. They learn critical interpersonal skills such as “I- statements” and finding win/win solutions. They compare and assess the value of different communication styles such as assertive, passive-aggressive, etc., and discuss how these styles help or hinder problem-solving efforts. Social awareness is emphasized through lessons that foster perspective taking skills and develop increased empathy for others. We also provide activities that promote self-awareness and self-management. Students learn about character traits such as gratitude and persistence, along with Executive Function skills such as flexibility, planning and organization, and impulse control. They practice Mindfulness techniques to develop their attention, concentration and sense of well-being.
 
Fourth grade students also learn from the FLASH (Family Life and Sexual Health) curriculum which covers hygiene, physical and emotional changes during puberty, body image, gender roles, and keeping oneself safe.